Police chief backs push to cut ambulance assaults

London’s top police officer has pledged to help reduce increasing violence
towards ambulance crews working in the capital.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens made his comments as
London Ambulance Service launched its second No Excuse publicity campaign to
highlight the problem.

Between January and March there were 130 reported cases of physical violence
towards LAS staff and almost 400 reports of verbal abuse. During 2001 there
were nearly 500 reports of physical violence – an increase of more than 100 on
the previous year.

Stevens said: "Our officers work with ambulance crews every day and
therefore know what a vital job they do. It is unacceptable that they should
face violence when trying to save lives, and we will do all we can to support
the LAS in bringing the offenders before the courts."

Wendy Foers, LAS’s HR director, welcomed Stevens’ support, and said
ambulance service managers are working closely with local police boroughs to
try and combat the problem.

The No Excuse drive launches with a poster campaign showing the bruised face
of a female ambulance technician, who was assaulted while responding to an
emergency call.

The LAS first raised the issue of violence against crews in December 2000
and has since introduced a number of initiatives to address the problem.

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